mfpen Is Almost Too Low-Key for Its Own Good


Despite being based in Copenhagen, itself a relatively vibrant hub of fashion activity, mfpen mostly keeps to itself. It’s not that the label is especially unfriendly, it’s more that mfpen doesn’t really care for “fashion” in the traditional sense. It’d rather just make good clothing.

The mfpen silhouette is slouchy, easy, unbothered. It’s rooted in the kind of throw-on-and-go staples proffered in the past by Polo Ralph Lauren and Agnès B, down to the approachable prices.

But just because mfpen is inspired by bygone eras, doesn’t mean that its design ethos are similarly old-fashioned.

On the “Production Values” tab of its website, for instance, read about mfpen’s promise to forego any new materials in its manufacturing process.

Instead, everything’s made of upcycled deadstock, recycled fibers, or eco-conscious textiles like organic cotton and tencel.

There’s no perfect solution to fashion’s cycle of waste, but mfpen also produces only a minimum number of SKUs each season, thus cutting down on the clothing left over each season that goes on sale.

It ain’t perfect but, for an indie brand at mfpen’s scale, it’s the second best thing to just not making anything new at all.

mfpen doesn’t scream about these values, nor does it market itself as being a “sustainable” brand.

In fact, mfpen might even be too low-key for its own good: it doesn’t really market itself at all.

Instead, the brand allows its minimalist garments to do the talking, spreading the good word of mfpen through a curated assortment of stockists that offer up mfpen’s effortless shirts, professorial cardigans, thigh-length wool overcoats, and baggy pleated jeans, often styled with “normcore” leather shoes and ASICS.

The approach has worked to some extent, allowing mfpen to organically expand its operation without compromising its beliefs and pick up admirers along the way.

Sold by retailers as big as SSENSE and as small as local Korean and Japanese boutiques — akin to likeminded no-nonsense designers such as Camiel Fortgens, mfpen has a sizeable following across East Asia — mfpen is keen to grow at its own pace.

And this is as good a time as any to get on board the bandwagon.

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